When you're responsible for fashioning the fabulous tresses of one of the biggest stars around, we'd expect for your birthday bash to be just as amazing... with not a single hair out of place. We got just that at Ursula Stephen's soireé last week in New York City's Flatiron district. The saucy hair stylist, who's whipped up amazing hairstyles for the likes of Kerry Washington, Gabrielle Union, and Rihanna brought her Brooklyn vibe to Boudoir, and brought some of her fabulous clients along. America's Next Top Model alum Tocarra Jones, Person of Interest star Taraji P. Henson, and the Unapologetic singer herself, Rihanna attended the Thursday night affair to fête Stephen's cake-day.
New York's DJ Kiss spun tunes that of course included hits from "The Only Girl in the World," while guests like comedian Taran Guy, fellow hairstylist Keith Campbell, and Teen Vogue'sElaine Welteroth mingled amongst the social set. Amidst air kisses and mini cupcakes, we caught Stephen on the purple and gold Motions Hair carpet, where she chatted us up about the freedom that comes through working with Rihanna, what inspires her coif creations, and what's next once after she hangs up her hair styling apron for good — a long, long time from now, we hope!
On her most important rule in styling hair:
I always keep my clients' hair well conditioned, well trimmed always, so we can try to think about a hair style. I always put health first. For me, I get bored quickly — I'm a female, so I know how it is to want to change your hair, so I can relate to my clients in that way. They want to change it, they want to have fun!
On what inspires her work:
It's the music. It just makes something churn in my brain. Also, I'm weird! I watch cartoons; I may see a cartoon and that will inspire me. Fashion's always been one of my big inspirations. I love clothes! I can see a outfit and think, "My hair's got to be long, my hair's got to be short, my hair's got to be braided.' It's a couple of things that go with that creative process.
On how she became a Motions Hair styling ambassador and instructor:
Motions found me! I was out there, saying to myself, "I wish I could do something else to add to my career." Teach or something. I didn't really anticipate that [Motions would contact me], but they started reaching out and it's been nothing but good times ever since. Now, I have the opportunity to teach, which I love to do; you can't do this forever, you've got to teach somebody else. I love being given the opportunity to really teach and be myself.
On working with Rihanna:
It's like a dream come true! I've got that one client that allows me to be creative; I don't have to be intimidated. And she doesn't want to do the same at all! We're the same person, so it's fun. I get to be myself, have fun at work, travel the world, and the world gets to see my creations. It's a blessing.
On what she plans to do after setting her hair tools aside:
What I've learned is that you can't plan too much. I'm just really open to all opportunities that come to me. I'm just ready. Whatever comes, I'll decipher it and figure out how it works for me.
Check out more pictures from Stephen's special affair, with a raven-haired Rihanna below!